Hello, it’s Mrs. S here again! Thanks for reading my blog on addiction in children.
It may sound crazy, but there is a growing epidemic of children becoming addicted to controlled substances. I think a lot of times when people think of addicts, their mind immediately go to stereotypes and how they have seen addiction depicted in the media. People think addicts are homeless old men or rebellious and angsty adults. But the truth is, anyone could be an addict, regardless of their demographic. This includes children, and even the most well-behaved, active, intelligent child could become an addict.
I mentioned in a previous post that the story of my student Andy, who became addicted to prescription painkillers following a football injury, is not unique. I have seen many cases of children with addictions during my years as a high school Spanish teacher. Research shows that by the time children have graduated high school, about 70% of them have tried alcohol, and more than 40% have tried some sort of drug. Additionally, one out of every 15 high school kids uses marijuana on a daily basis (although marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use in some states, it is still controlled by an age restriction of 21, like alcohol).
The teen years are a time of growth, self-discovery, and trying new things. Unfortunately for many, this includes experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Many teens attend parties and share drugs and alcohol with friends. They may steal alcohol from parents or other adults, or even convince adults to purchase alcohol for them. Teens can also get fake IDs to get into bars and clubs, or buy alcohol from stores. Marijuana is also a popular drug amongst teens, and it is seen as a “gateway drug.” This means that it is often the first drug a person will try and opens them up to trying other substances.
Prescription drugs are another popular choice amongst teen substance abusers. Teens may be more likely to try prescription drugs than other types of substances because they mistakenly believe that since it is medicine from a doctor, it is not dangerous or illegal. The truth is that taking any sort of prescription medication in any way that deviates from the doctor’s recommended use qualifies as substance abuse. This includes taking medication that is not yours, taking more than the recommended dosage, or crushing up pills that are meant to be swallowed to snort or inject the powder. It is very easy to become addicted to prescription drugs, and they are every bit as dangerous and deadly as illegal street drugs.